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1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction: A Resource for Judges

Recent Cases

Supreme Court

Golan v. Saada, 142 S. Ct. 1880 (2022)
Grave Risk | Ameliorative Measures | Discretion to Return
Whether after a finding of grave risk, courts are required to examine options that might allow the safe return of a child.

Monasky v. Taglieri, 140 S. Ct. 719 (2020)
Habitual Residence: Standards for Initial Determination and Appellate Review
What test initially determines the habitual residence of a child under the 1980 Hague Convention, and what the appellate standard of review for such an issue should be.

Appellate Courts


J.C.C. v. L.C., No. 20-3289, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 8498 (3d Cir. Mar. 31, 2022)
Child’s Objection to Return

Salame v. Tescari, 29 F.4th 763 (6th Cir. 2022)
Grave Risk | Domestic Violence | Effect of Asylum Grant | Zone of War or Famine | Inability of Local Courts to Fairly Adjudicate Custody Case
Whether return of children, who were granted asylum in the United States, to their father in Venezuela would subject them to grave risk or place them in an intolerable situation.

Vieira v. De Souza, 22 F.4th 304 (1st Cir. 2022)
Grave Risk Defense | Child’s Objection to Return | Role of Trial Court


Velozny v. Velozny, No. 21-1993-cv, 2021 WL 5567265 (2nd Cir. Nov. 29, 2021)
Grave Risk | Objection of the Child
Grave risk of harm; court’s discretion regarding application of the mature child objection; court’s reliance on psychologist affidavits in lieu of live testimony from children.

Matrai v. Hiramoto, No. 21-15084, 2021 WL 5276021 (9th Cir. Nov. 12, 2021)
Younger Abstention | Exceptions to Abstention
A review of a district court’s dismissal of a state-court order, pursuant to Younger v. Harris abstention doctrine.

Dawson v. Dylla, No. 21-1225, 2021 WL 5232251 (10th Cir. Nov. 10, 2021)
Younger Abstention
Whether district court should have abstained under Younger.

Colchester v. Lazaro, 16 F.4th 712 (9th Cir. 2021)
Grave Risk | Domestic Violence | Discovery | Experts | Findings
Whether mother’s request for appointment of forensic psychologist to examine allegations of child and spousal abuse should have been granted; whether the district court made sufficient findings to support its order of return of child.

Saada v. Golan, 833 F. App’x 829 (2d Cir. 2021)
Motion to Set Aside
Whether a party must show evidence of a disputed material to support motion to set aside judgment based on newly discovered evidence.

Harm v. Lake-Harm, 16 F.4th 450 (5th Cir. 2021)
Habitual Residence | Standard Appellate Review
Whether a court’s finding on habitual residence under the Monasky “totality of circumstances” test is subject to clear error.

Douglas v. Douglas, No. 21-1335, 2021 WL 4286555 (6th Cir. Sept. 21, 2021)
Habitual Residence | Summary Dispositions
Totality of circumstances and habitual residence.

Jones v. Fairfield (In re ICJ), 13 F.4th 753 (9th Cir. 2021)
Grave Risk | Exercise of Custody Rights | Undertakings | Ameliorative Measures
Whether a parent’s decision to discontinue financial support constitutes a failure to exercise of custody rights; whether a grave-risk finding requires consideration of alternative measures or undertakings that allow a child’s safe return; what level of pandemic-related travel concern constitutes a grave risk.

Radu v. Shon, 11 F.4th 1080 (9th Cir. 2021)
Ameliorative Measures | Undertakings | Office of Children’s Issues | Grave Risk | Foreign Law
Whether there are adequate and available alternative measures (undertakings) to ameliorate the return of children where a court finds a grave risk.

Aluker v. Yan, No. 21-1279, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 23213 (4th Cir. Aug. 5, 2021)
Custody Rights | Settlement Agreements | Choice of Law
Whether a settlement agreement between two parties should apply in determining custody for a Hague Petition.

Romero v. Bahamonde, 857 F. App’x 576 (11th Cir. 2021)
Objection of the Child | Manner of Hearing | Wishes vs. Objections | Immigration Status and Settlement
Consideration of child’s objections; settlement of undocumented children.

Bordelais v. Bordelais, 844 F. App’x 910 (7th Cir. 2021)
Age of Child | Attorney Fees and Costs
Whether sanctions were warranted for a frivolous appeal.

Avendano v. Balza, 985 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2021)
Child’s Objection to Return
Whether a mature child’s objection to return is sufficient to deny a parent’s request for return.


Pope v. Lunday, No. 20-6003, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 36618 (10th Cir. Nov. 20, 2020)
Habitual Residence of Infants | Lack of Necessity of Evidentiary Hearing
Whether a parental agreement reached while the children are in utero can establish habitual residence in a place where the children have never been.

Smith v. Smith, 976 F.3d 558 (5th Cir. 2020)
Habitual Residence | Parental Intent | Precedent
Whether a finding of habitual residence made before the Supreme Court’s decision in Monasky v. Taglieri can be affirmed even if the court approached the habitual residence question by first looking to the issue of parental intent rather than following the guidance of Monasky.

Rizvi v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., No. 20-2136, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 30614 (3d Cir. Sep. 25, 2020)
Whether a U.S. court can hear a Hague petition for the return of children when they are located in another country.

Farr v. Kendrick, 824 F. App’x 480 (9th Cir. 2020)
Habitual Residence | Precedent
Whether a court’s adherence to pre-Monasky circuit precedent to determine habitual residence requires reversal.

Rubio v. Castro, No. 19-3740, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 14905 (2d Cir. May 11, 2020)
Parent’s Refusal to Return | Child’s Objection to Return | Grave Risk & Ameliorative Measures
Whether the existence of ameliorative measures available in the habitual residence justifies return of a child despite the finding of a grave risk.

Da Silva v. De Aredes, 953 F.3d 67 (1st Cir. 2020)
Defenses | Settlement and Immigration Status | Grave Risk | Motions for New Trial
Whether a district court committed clear error in denying defenses of grave risk and settlement of the child, and whether denial of a mother’s motion for new trial was an abuse of discretion.

Berenguela-Alvarado v. Castanos, 950 F.3d 1352 (11th Cir. 2020)
Factual Error | Burden of Proof
Appellate review of factual error, and whether a parent petitioning for a child’s return has the burden of disproving the opposing parent’s factually unsupported defense.

Takeshi Ogawa v. Kyong Kang, 946 F.3d 1176 (10th Cir. 2020)
Custody Rights
What is the extent of custody rights defined by parties’ divorce agreement under Japanese law.


Abou-Haidar v. Vazquez, 945 F.3d 1208 (D.C. Cir. 2019)
Wrongful Retention | Habitual Residence
Whether a parent’s unequivocal repudiation of an agreement to remain abroad with a child for a fixed amount of time amounts to a wrongful retention when that parent commences an action for exclusive custody of the child before the end of the fixed period.

Eidem v. Eidem, No. 19-1417, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36488 (2d Cir. Dec. 10, 2019)
Grave Risk | Quality of Medical Care in Habitual Residence | Interruption of the Course of Counseling | Credibility
Whether a parent’s claim that the medical treatment available in the child’s habitual residence was below the standard of care available elsewhere and that interrupting the children’s therapy would make psychological treatment more difficult constitutes a valid defense of a grave risk.

Watts v. Watts, 935 F.3d 1138 (10th Cir. 2019)
Habitual Residence | Parental Intent | Acclimatization | Time-Limited Relocations
Whether a temporary removal of children to another country for the purpose of providing medical care to one of the children triggers a change in habitual residence.

Saada v. Golan, 930 F.3d 533 (2nd Cir. 2019)
Grave Risk | Court’s Discretion to Return | Undertakings | Habitual Residence
Whether a clear finding of habitual residence in a situation of grave risk requires further consideration when the undertakings put in place to protect the child cannot be enforced.

Grau v. Grau, 780 F. App’x 787 (11th Cir. 2019)
Habitual Residence

Update: Taglieri v. Monasky, 907 F.3d 404 (6th Cir. 2018)
Habitual Residence: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari
Whether a district court’s determination of habitual residence should fall under the clear error or de novo standard of review. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on June 10, 2019, and ruled on the case on February 25, 2020. See Case Commentary: Monasky v. Taglieri, 140 S. Ct. 719 (2020) for discussion of the Supreme Court decision.

Palencia v. Perez, 921 F.4d 1333 (11th Cir. 2019)
Custody Rights | Wrongful Retention
How to define custody rights and how to determine the date of wrongful retention when an abducting parent falsely represents to the other parent the date of the child’s return.

Pfeiffer v. Bachotet, 913 F.3d 1018 (11th Cir. 2019)
Custody Rights | Habitual Residence


Monzon v. De La Roca, 910 F.3d 92 (3d Cir. 2018)
Commencement of Proceedings Defined | Article 12 Defense | Settlement
Whether an action is considered to have commenced with the filing of an administrative request for return, whether an Article 12 “delay” defense requires proof that other defenses exist, and whether the evidence presented sufficiently established that the child was “settled” under Article 12.

Fernandez v. Bailey, 909 F.3d 353 (11th Cir. 2018)
Article 18 Discretion to Return Child | Settlement | Repeated Abductions
Whether return of a settled child is detrimental to the child per se and in which circumstances courts should consider ordering a settled child to his or her habitual residence despite the establishment of an Article 12 defense.

Taglieri v. Monasky, 907 F.3d 404 (6th Cir. 2018)
Habitual Residence | Infants
What standard to apply when determining the habitual residence of an infant who has lived in only one location prior to its wrongful removal.

Moreno v. Zank, 895 F.3d 917 (6th Cir. 2018)
Habitual Residence
Whether abduction acts as a bar to the establishment of a child’s habitual residence in the country to which the child was taken, and whether resort to self-help and failure to pursue an action for return of a child under the Hague Convention may result in a change in the child’s habitual residence.

Soto v. Contreras, 880 F.3d 706 (5th Cir. 2018)
Domestic Violence | Grave Risk
Whether the district court’s finding of a lack of “objective evidence” to support abuse allegations impermissibly increased mother’s burden to prove a grave risk, and whether the existence of spousal abuse requires a finding of grave risk to a child.


Marks v. Hochhauser 876 F.3d 416 (2nd Cir. 2017)
Wrongful Retention | Single or Continuing Act | Date of Entry into Force
Determining when the 1980 Hague Convention came into force between the U.S. and Thailand and whether wrongful retention is a single act or a continuing act.

Ahmed v. Ahmed, 867 F.3d 682 (6th Cir. 2017)
Habitual Residence | Especially Young Children | Infants
Whether it is appropriate to consider the shared parental intent standard in cases involving very young children who lack sufficient maturity to acclimate to any residence.

Padilla v. Troxell, 850 F.3d 168 (4th Cir. 2017)
Defenses | Consent – Facts Supporting Consent
What factual issues may support sustaining the defense of consent to the child’s wrongful removal.

Madrigal v. Tellez, 848 F.3d 669 (5th Cir. 2017)
Return Orders | Enforcement | Place of Return
Whether an order for return of children to their habitual residence must establish the pre-abduction status quo in all respects.


Hernandez v. Cardoso, 844 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 2016)
Grave Risk Defense | Intimate Partner Violence in Child’s Presence
Application of a clear error standard to review factual determinations by a district court. Sufficiency of evidence of domestic violence to sustain grave risk defense.

Pliego v. Hayes, 843 F.3d 226 (6th Cir. 2016)
Intolerable Situation | Courts of Habitual Residence
Whether an “intolerable situation” under Article 13(b) includes inability of courts of habitual residence to litigate child custody.

Custodio v. Samillan, 842 F.3d 1084 (8th Cir. 2016)
Child’s Objection to Return | Mootness
Whether a child who turns sixteen during pendency of return proceedings is still subject to jurisdiction under Hague Convention. Clear error standard when reviewing trial court’s determination regarding a child’s objections to return. Whether a child’s objections to return can be based on considerations typical to custody decisions.

Didon v. Castillo, 838 F.3d 313 (3d Cir. 2016)
Habitual Residence | Concurrent Habitual Residences | Stays
Whether a child may have two concurrent habitual residences. Factors involved in determining habitual residence when children spend substantial time in two adjacent countries. Whether lower courts should stay orders of return pending appeal.

Delgado v. Osuna, 837 F.3d 571 (5th Cir. 2016)
Habitual Residence | Parental Intent
Whether previous habitual residence may be deemed abandoned without an agreement as to location of the new habitual residence.

Martinez v. Cahue, 826 F.3d 983 (7th Cir. 2016)
Habitual Residence | Custody Rights
The impact of legal custody on determining the habitual residence of a child.

Alcala v. Hernandez, 826 F.3d 161 (4th Cir. 2016)
Settlement | Immigration Status | Return Despite Existing Defense
Delay and settlement of child. Return orders and immigration status. Impact of immigration status on return. Denial of return despite valid defense.

Berezowsky v. Ojeda (Berezowsky II), 652 F. App’x 249 (5th Cir. 2016)
Re-Return Orders Following Reversal of Lower Court Order on Appeal
Whether circuit court’s order on remand to district court to vacate its order of return and dismiss a case forecloses the issuance of an order of re-return of a child, and whether district court’s refusal to grant request for a re-return order is an abuse of discretion.

Tann v. Bennett, 648 F. App’x 146 (2d Cir. 2016)
Child’s Objection to Return
Sufficiency of evidence to sustain a child’s objection to return.

Hernandez v. Pena, 820 F.3d 782 (5th Cir. 2016)
Delay Defense | Settlement | Immigration Status
Factors used when addressing meaning of the term settled in context of delay defense.

District Courts


Nowlan v. Nowlan, Civil Action No. 5:20cv00102, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10824 (W.D. Va. Jan. 21, 2021)
Videoconference Testimony | Sixth Amendment Right to Confront and the Hague Convention
Whether the Sixth Amendment’s provision for the right to confrontation applies in a Hague Convention case.


Babcock v. Babcock, No. 3:20-cv-00066, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 224778 (S.D. Iowa Nov. 30, 2020)
Habitual Residence | Wrongful Retention | Child’s Objection to Return
Whether a mature child’s objection to return to his habitual residence is sufficient to warrant a refusal to return him.

Adkins v. Adkins, No. 19-cv-05535-HSG, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207559 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 2020)
Attorney Fees | ICARA
Whether a petitioner may be reimbursed, under ICARA, for attorney fees the petitioner incurred to defend a state court custody case that the respondent initiated.

Wan v. Debolt, No. 20-cv-3233, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197996 (C.D. Ill. Oct. 26, 2020)
Hague Convention in Force
Whether Hong Kong retains its status as a signatory to the Hague Convention after recent actions by the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. Congress, and an executive order.

Jacquety v. Baptista, 2020 WL 5946562 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 7, 2020)
Jurisdiction | Standing | Redressability
Whether a person who assists in the abduction of a child by planning or supporting the abduction, or who assists in concealing the child, but who is not related to the child and does not have legal custody or control over the child, can be properly named as a respondent.

Da Silva v. Vieira, No. 6:20-cv-1301-Orl-37GJK, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174167 (M.D. Fla. Sep. 23, 2020)
Custody Rights | Grandparent’s Custody Rights | Ne Exeat | Immigration Status | Grave Risk
Whether a parent’s incarceration deprives the parent of the exercise of ne exeat custody rights.

Trott v. Trott, No. 20-CV-1392 (AMD) (CLP), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151818 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 21, 2020)
Whether a foreign court’s decision to deny a mother’s petition for return is entitled to comity in the father’s U.S. petition for return of the children to the other country.

Leon v. Ruiz, No. MO:19-CV-00293-RCG, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43758 (W.D. Tex. Mar. 13, 2020)
Defenses | General Denial
Whether a parent’s general denial to a petition for return waives that parent’s right to present affirmative defenses when raising them for the first time in an opening statement, and whether the other party is prejudiced by the failure to raise those defenses earlier.


Cunningham v. Cunningham, 237 F. Supp. 3d 1246 (M.D. Fla. 2017)
Habitual Residence of Infants | Wrongful Retention | Delay – Settlement of Child
Role of parental intent in fixing the habitual residence of an infant. Relevance of foreign law (of country of a child’s habitual residence) to determination of wrongful retention. Whether a child under two can become “settled” in new environment.

Other U.S. Courts and Foreign Courts

Montes v. Toscano (In re M.V.U.), 2020 IL App (1st) 191762
Domestic Violence | Grave Risk | Child Not a Target of Abuse | No Expert Witness Required to Testify to Psychological Dangers to the Child Whether domestic violence against a parent poses grave risk to a child.

Office of the Children’s Lawyer v. Balev, [2018] 1 S.C.R. 398 (Can.)
Habitual Residence | Unilateral Change of Residence
Whether one parent can unilaterally change a child’s habitual residence when the consent of the other parent is time-limited.